For a long time, the deciding factor on where to go on holiday very much depended on where Ryan Air was flying to cheaply.* Milan, well Bergamo really, since most Ryan Air flights don’t actually seem to land in the airports of the city advertised, has been on my radar as somewhere to go one day. Last weekend, quite by accident, I finally got round to it visiting.
My friend and I were supposed to go to Madrid last November however our flights were cancelled and as well as being refunded our money, we were given some flight vouchers. After a perusal of possible destinations to use them on, we ended up picking Milan.
I’ve been a bit of a useless friend recently, and this was the first time I’ve seen L in 10 months so we knew we would spend the whole time catching up over food and tea. Sightseeing wasn’t particularly high on the agenda.
Still, once we landed in Milan, we found ourselves wandering over to the Duomo since it was the one landmark we knew of.
We approached from the side and decided to walk all the way to the end of the Piazza before turning around to get our first proper look of the cathedral. It was pretty spectacular and gleamed in the midday light.
Landmarks are best enjoyed with a drink in hand so we headed over to the Aperol terrace and sat outside, sipping drinks, under the shadow of the Duomo. It was one of my favourite moments of the weekend. It was a little chilly but the sun was out and it’s the first time I’ve felt its warmth on my face all winter.**
The rest of the weekend was a merry blur of chats, food and copious cups of tea. We did consider going to one museum, but once we got there we were put off by the large queue and went for cake instead. Many museums in Milan are free (and BUSY!) on the first Sunday of the month.
Some notes on the things we did.
Somehow, over the course of the weekend, we managed to walk 23 miles. A good job, I suppose, given how much we ate. We did very little research beforehand and instead Googled things we fancied. Apart from some lacklustre but filling dim sum, we lucked out and found some excellent food.
Sushi at Conch – Tasty sushi. Crazy delicious wakame salad.
Gelato from Raki – I had the most amazing vanilla and ginger gelato.
Toast from Fancy Toast – sweet and savoury toast toppings. I wish I had room for the nutella toast after my savoury avo but I just couldn’t do it. The portions are really filling.
Pizza from Be Bop – Thin and crispy based pizzas. Good prices.
Arancini from Antica Fabbrica dell’Arancina Milano – cheap, cheerful and tasty arancini
Espresso with melted chocolate from CioccolatItalian – GO HERE for melted chocolate heaven. I had the most amazing espresso with melted hazelnut chocolate and whipped cream. L had a pot of hot, melted chocolate full of pistachio nuts.
Mercure Milano Regency, here
Clean. 2 minutes from a tram stop or a 30 minute walk from the city centre. Crap water pressure, but I can forgive them that. It had a quirky Hotel Budapest vibe to it. After hotel tax, it worked out at £50 per night for a room, breakfast included.
Free walking tour with Frog Walking Tour
Apart from walking between food stops, we did manage to make it to a free walking tour. I love these kinds of tours and have done one in pretty much every place I’ve been that offers them. I find them to be a good way to learn about the place you’re visiting, seeing some major sights and getting tips on things to do from locals.
We were too full by the time aperitivo came around, which is a sort of Italian happy hour with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, but we enjoyed walking around the Navigli area where you’ll find many bars serving the meal, set along side a pretty old canal system.
I really enjoyed my weekend in Milan. If you can get cheap flights, it’s certainly a place that’s worth a visit for a leisurely, food-filled few days.
*Back in the glory days when you could literally fly somewhere for 2p return
**I’m being dramatic, I know, but winter feels like it has dragged on for soooooooo long!